Torn and Restored Paper

[A magical repeat from December 19, 2011]

This is a cool effect on which I’ve gotten a lot of mileage over the years. 

THE EFFECT:  Sitting in a restaurant, take a cocktail napkin and shred it to pieces.  You ball it up – and slowly begin to open a fully-restored cocktail napkin.  Your hands remain above the table at all times. 

THE TRICK:  Before you start, quietly (and unobservedly) take your own cocktail napkin, put it in your lap, open it, ball it up and secret it in your hand by your thumb.  You’re now ready to go.  Announce that you have a trick that will amaze and astound.  Ask for a cocktail napkin, open it all the while keeping the balled up napkin under your thumb.  No one will see it because it is small and any slip will blend with the other.  Shred the napkin and ball it up with the whole napkin.  Put them together and hold the two in front of everyone’s eyes.  The audience will “see” only one balled-up napkin.  Though you know that the torn napkin is on one side, the whole one on the other.  Reverse them and slowly begin to open the whole napkin.  Any dropped pieces can be picked up and reintroduced onto the torn side.   Once open, you can drop the torn ball in your lap or on the floor.  And take a bow. 

You MUST practice a dozen times or so (in front of a mirror) before attempting to wow the crowd.  And (raise your right hand) you may not tell anyone how it’s done.  

Perhaps some of you know that magicians actually run in my family.  They have to if they want to survive. . . . .

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He’s a Devil. . . .

When I went to Portugal years ago, I often had dinner in a little cafe off Rossio Square in Lisbon. One evening I was sitting in the restaurant with my driver George.

George looked at me — “Scott – do some magic tricks.”   So I did a few effects (see December 19, 2011, if you want to learn a good one).  With that, George called over some of the waiters. “You gotta see this stuff.” A gaggle of waiters began to congregate by our booth. I asked for a deck of cards – they arrived – and I began my routine.  Nothing fancy but some good stuff.

It was when I poured water into my fist and made it disappear – and then reappear – that one waiter looked seriously at his colleagues. “Ele e um diabo” [“he’s a devil“].   And I suddenly realized that my visage had quite possibly morphed from curiosity to danger to the human race and all that is holy.  George coughed and looked at me.  My face got warm.  I thought I better do something or I may have trouble leaving the restaurant.  Sooooooo, I did what any other red-blooded American magician would do.  I looked up at the waiter who had branded me a diabo – and said “here – I’m gonna show you how I did that.”  I did.  I showed the waiters how I did the tricks — without making them take the mandatory Magician’s Oath.  The waiters laughed nervously.  Seemed relieved.  And walked away.  George gave me one of those eyes in the air looks that said I won’t ask you to do that again.  And I lived to tell the tale. . . . .